Harry Kewell has shown occasional glimpses of his true ability at Anfield since he joined the Reds from Leeds, but Liverpool have not really had the same player that used to play across the Pennines.
Liverpool boss Benitez questioned publicly whether Kewell’s attitude was right – was he really injured or not? Rafa then suggested that Kewell go and see a specialist physio in Spain known to Benitez. The techniques used make Kewell feel so much better than he has for some time, and the Australian is talking about having the Spanish physio with him for the Confederations Cup in the summer. Kewell credits Benitez for sending him to the specialis, and he wants to pay his Spanish manager back.
Kewell tried to play with injuries, but in the end felt he wasn’t pulling his weight as he would have liked: "Players have been able to play with injuries and I gave it all I could do for the first six months. But it’s a team game and I don’t want to go and let my team-mates down by not playing to what I can do. If I was going out there and only playing at 60 per cent and not being able to produce then that looks bad on me. I had to make a choice, and I made a choice to pull out and get fit, which I did do, and now I’m on the mend hopefully I can go on from there."
Kewell has been criticised by many during his spell of playing with injury. He wasn’t 100% and many saw it as less than 100% commitment rather than less than 100% fitness, which then meant the vocal minority suggested Liverpool should get rid of him. Now’s the chance for Kewell to prove them wrong: "It has been hard work to get back into it especially when it’s coming near to the end of the season, but after being away for four months it’s just great to be out there again and you just run on adrenaline because it’s so great to be out there. I feel fine."
When Liverpool play Chelsea at Anfield tomorrow night they start as underdogs. The massive points difference between the two clubs in the league will count for nothing tomorrow night though as it’s knockout football. Kewell say: "I think we’ve got the ability to beat any team in the world, it’s as simple as that. Any team that comes here, they defend. We go on the attack and they defend. We’re just missing the target at the moment but eventually we’re going to start hitting the back of the net."
The confidence in the Chelsea camp gives the impression they already think they’ve won the game – but Kewell says Liverpool are going to do all they can to stop them: "If you don’t think you can beat any team then what’s the point of playing football? You’ve got to go out with the attitude that you’re going to go out there and win. You give 110 per cent and whatever happens, happens. But we’ve got the belief that we can do anything."